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Bernie Sanders Under Fire For Recent Remarks On Sandy Hook Suit

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- After a big win in Wisconsin and as the New York primary approaches, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders faced fire from the New York Daily News for his recent stance on and gun laws.

Wednesday's front page of the daily newspaper blasts Sanders for remarks he made in an exclusive interview with the publication, where he reportedly said he did not support plaintiffs locked in a lawsuit  tied to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012.

The lawsuit, which has been the center of a heated debate, alleges the families of the Sandy Hook victims have the right to sue the gun manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the incident because the manufacturers knew the gun was too dangerous for public use.

According to the transcript of the Daily News interview, Sanders said:

"In the same sense that if you're a gun dealer and you sell me a gun and I go out and I kill him [gestures to someone in room]…. Do I think that that gun dealer should be sued for selling me a legal product that he misused? [Shakes head no.]

"But I do believe that gun manufacturers and gun dealers should be able to be sued when they should know that guns are going into the hands of wrong people," Sanders continued. "So if somebody walks in and says, 'I'd like 10,000 rounds of ammunition,' you know, well, you might be suspicious about that. So I think there are grounds for those suits, but not if you sell me a legal product."


Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy said he was outraged by Sanders' remarks, saying the Vermont senator is not hearing the public outrage in the aftermath of the shootings, WCBS 880's Fran Schneidau reported. 

"I think he's just dead wrong on the gun issue. Has been for years. He is tone deaf," Malloy said.

Connecticut Sen. Chis Murphy and Erica Smegielski, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, took to Twitter in response:

"Democrats cannot nominate a candidate who believes that toy gun makers should be held to a higher legal standard than real gun makers," Murphy tweeted. "And if this isn't Sanders' position - if he supports full return of liability for sellers and makers, then he should clarify immediately."

Meanwhile, Sanders' rival Hillary Clinton told MSNBC's "Morning Joe'' that his recent remark that gun dealers shouldn't necessarily be subject to lawsuits was "unimaginable'' because it put the rights of the gun industry above parents whose children have been killed by guns.

Freedom Group, the Madison, North Carolina, parent company of AR-15 maker Bushmaster Firearms, says it's protected by a 2005 federal law that shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products. Last year, more than a dozen victims' families split $1.5 million under settlements of lawsuits filed against the estate of the gunman's mother.

A judge is still weighing both sides of the case to determine whether or not the families have a right to sue. 

Sanders is expected to debate rival Clinton in Brooklyn on April 14, ahead of the state primaries. Sanders is set to hold a rally in Manhattan's Washington Square Park the day before.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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